4 answers

What is the difference between working in Human Resources for a specific company and HR consulting?

Asked Ontario, Ontario, Canada

What is different about working in house for a company and working for a consulting firm? Has anyone worked in both roles and is able to compare and contrast the two? #business #human-resources #consulting #hr #hr-consulting

4 answers

Callie’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas
Hi, We have had a similar experience to Barry. While we do not have specific HR experience, we can relate to the question between industry and consulting. One of the most notable differentiators is the lifestyle differences between consulting and industry: while working for an HR firm, you will most likely stay planted in one city, and work at a consistent location Monday - Friday. While in consulting, your travel schedule may be varied - you could potentially change clients (or projects) on a monthly basis. Also, in consulting, you will have the opportunity to become exposed to multiple industries and company cultures. In industry, you get a deeper understanding into how a single company operates. #consulting #management-consulting #hr-consulting

Barry’s Answer

Updated Chicago, Illinois

Hi. I have worked as both a direct employee and as an outsourced resource. Typically, as a consultant you are engaged to work on a specific project often for a determined amount of time. Your goal is to complete said project and then you move on to the next clients project. As a direct employee, you are employed (hopefully) for awhile. You work with you manager on your career development, you set annual goals.

As a contract consultant, I have oftentimes felt like an outsider. On some of my longer engagements (3+years long), I have felt more like an employee and have been treated as one in many cases. Both have been rewarding, consulting and direct employee. I have found that as a consultant (which I did after 5 years as an employee), I gained a ton of insight consulting to many large organizations. Got to see how they work, what their cultures were like. I felt like it was necessary for me to progress. I learned a ton as a consultant. Hope this helps!

Linda Ann’s Answer

Updated

The two previous answers to this question are quite good.


As an HR Consultant you indeed have projects for clients which results in a lot of traveling from one city to another (usually). The mission of the consulting firm and the scope of the project will determine the length of time you spend with each of these clients. The time can be very limited as in one-to-two weeks or it could be of longer duration (a year or more). For those projects that are shorter in duration, you might be "on the road" a lot, living out of a suitcase, so to speak. You will have little free time. You may be spending most of your weekends traveling via train or plane between cities. After a year or so of such short-duration projects, you will probably be 'spent' both physically and mentally because you will need to put your personal life in a holding pattern. It is very difficult to maintain friendships and cordial relationships with family members (parents, spouses or significant others) when you are "on the road" most of the time. Burn-out is common in such situations. So, if you are considering HR Consulting, which can be very lucrative from a financial point of view, it is very important to know in advance how much travel time is involved and the typical duration of projects. If you are a people person and get your energy from forming and maintaining relationships with others, you may not be able to form such relationships unless the projects are of longer duration...


Good luck!

Arina’s Answer

Updated

I liked previous answers to your question, but I have worked “in-house” in HR departments, so I will speak from my experience there. Callie Lowe described well that employees in HR departments stay in one location and usually have a 9am-5pm job. We don’t travel, unless you are a recruiter and part of your responsibilities is attending career fairs (then you will travel to various facilities to represent the company).

I think working for an HR department “in-house” gives you opportunity to grow within the company in the long run. Sorry, I can’t speak from the consulting side of HR. In medium to large size companies, there is always room to develop your skills. For example, you can start with assisting in one area (ie: compensation or benefits) and then move over in a year or so to another function of HR and learn something brand new (ie: human resources information systems - HRIS). Thus, you are staying within one company, one industry but have learned totally different aspect of HR. Hope this helps!